Pastor Ephraim Magnus

by Hans Henny Jahnn

Premieres 19/03/2015


Running time: Five hours, one interval

To escape the barbarism of World War I, young Hans Henny Jahnn fled from Hamburg to Norway. In exile he wrote the play that would make him famous and for which he received the Kleist Prize in 1920: »Pastor Ephraim Magnus«. A strongly abridged version by Arnolt Bronnen and Bertolt Brecht premiered in 1923. The “volcano-like form” of the play mirrors its characters’ excessive longing for life. “I don’t feel alive!” is Pastor Magnus’ dying curse which leads his three children to seek God in physical pleasure and torment. Consciously they overstep all possible limits of bourgeois order, and in radically experimenting with themselves and others, they become both perpetrators and victims. Jacob is executed for killing a woman. The surviving siblings, Johanna and Ephraim, preserve his dead body, and explore their own limits of physical pain. However, in these excesses Jahnn’s characters are also always looking for some sense and meaning beyond the system of destruction that precipitated World War I, led to World War II, and ultimately to the nuclear terror of the Cold War.

Director Frank Castorf returns to Jahnn’s hometown Hamburg and to the SchauSpielHaus with this production of Jahnn’s early work.

With: Jeanne Balibar, Carlo Ljubek, Christoph Luser, Josef Ostendorf, Aljoscha Stadelmann, Bettina Stucky, Michael Weber, Kathrin Wehlisch, Samuel Weiss

Directed by Frank Castorf Set Design: Aleksandar Denic Costume Design: Adriana Braga Peretzki Lighting Design: Lothar Baumgarte Video and Live Editing: Alexander Grassek Camera Operators: Marcel Didolff, Harald Mellwig Sound Design: Dominik Wegmann Production Manager Sebastian Klink Dramaturgy: Jörg Bochow